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Jane Illingworth Pierce

revised by John T. Brobeck

(b c1500; d Dec 3, 1568). French singer and composer. He was a tenor in the royal chapels of François I and Henri II between 1546 and 1560, much of the time drawing additional wages as a chantre ordinaire of the Maison du roy, the king's personal household. From 1547 to 1553 he also served (with Claudin de Sermisy and Hilaire Rousseau) as one of three sous-maîtres of the royal chapel, a position he still held in 1559. In 1550 he obtained a canonicate at the Ste Chapelle in Paris that passed at his death to another chantre du roy, Estienne Le Roy. Belin became the cantor of the Ste Chapelle in 1565, although he had begun exercising some of the functions of the office two years earlier. In 1560 Le Roy & Ballard published nine four-voice works by Belin (two chansons and seven settings of biblical canticles and psalms in the French translations of Lancelot de Carle, Bishop of Riez), none of which is now extant. The 14 chansons ascribed to him in collections of all the major French printers (RISM ...


Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...


Claire Fontijn and Marinella Laini

( b ?Venice, c 1640; d Paris, c 1720). Italian composer and singer . Documents in Venice corroborate the ‘autobiography’ provided by the dedications of her six volumes of manuscript music, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris: she was the only child of the doctor Giacomo Padoani, studied music with Francesco Cavalli, and in 1659 married Lorenzo Bembo, a Venetian nobleman. In 1677, in all likelihood she travelled with guitarist Francesco Corbetta to Paris, where she settled. She sang for Louis XIV, who awarded her a pension, enabling her to live in the community of the Petite Union Chrétienne des Dames de Saint Chaumont. She composed in most of the contemporary vocal genres: opera, serenata, aria, air, secular and sacred cantata, grand and petit motet. Her first collection, Produzioni armoniche, consists of 41 arias and cantatas on Italian, French and Latin texts, mainly for soprano and continuo (1 ed. C. Fontijn, Fayetteville, AR, ...


(b Verona, c1550; d Verona, Nov 23, 1598). Italian composer and singer. He has in the past been confused with Agostino Bendinelli (ii). He lived in Verona, where he attended the Scuola degli Accoliti and completed his musical education under Gabriele Martinengo, maestro di cappella of the cathedral. He became a priest, and in 1580 was appointed a singer in the cathedral choir and one of the 12 resident chaplains who formed the teaching staff of the Scuola. In codicils to his will dated 8 September 1598 he settled a legacy of 50 ducats upon Ippolito Baccusi, then maestro di cappella of the cathedral, on condition that he should arrange for some of his unpublished works to be printed posthumously; it is not known if Baccusi carried out this request. Bendinelli's counterpoint is clear and tightly constructed, lively in rhythm and deployed within a harmonic language that is varied by some effective modulations. In his compositions for double choir the more contrapuntal passages throw the homophonic sections into relief with restrained dramatic effect. An example of technical mastery is provided by the canon at the unison in the tenor of the motet ...



Pamela F. Starr

[Benedictus SiredeBenoctus de FranciaBenenoitBenedette di Giov. dito BenoitBenotto di GiovanniBenottus de Ferraria]

(fl 1436–55). French singer and composer. He was probably from the archdiocese of Sens in Haute-Bourgogne. His works appear in 15th-century musical sources under the name Benoit, but an authoritative papal document identifies him as Benedictus Sirede. He is first documented in 1436–7, as a singer for the confraternity of Orsanmichele in Florence. In 1438 he was recruited in Ferrara by Lorenzo de' Medici for the cathedral and baptistry choir of Florence, becoming choirmaster in 1439. He resigned from this position on 23 January 1448. From 1448 to 1450 he served in the chapel of Leonello d'Este in Ferrara; he was also a member of the papal chapel from December 1447 to February 1448, and again from January 1451 to October 1455.

Six works by Benoit survive, probably composed in the 1430s and 40s. All are in manuscripts copied in northern Italy during this period: I-Bc Q15, MOe...


Nancy Dersofi


(b Padua c1496; d Padua, March 17, 1542). Italian playwright, actor, singer and poet. His plays are remarkable for their innovative use of popular Paduan genres combined with pastoral eclogue and learned comedy in imitation of antiquity. In the plays 52 songs, mentioned or sung, divide scenes or carry the action, as in L’Anconitana, where a Paduan servant named Ruzante holds a song contest with his Venetian master. Speaking the dialect of the Paduan countryside, Ruzante appears in most of Beolco’s plays. The playwright-actor performed Ruzante’s role and adopted his character’s name. Modern critics have identified the author with his character, whose polemics against the rustics’ historical antagonists, whether Venetian merchants, Paduan noblemen or proponents of a Tuscanizing academic culture, inform Ruzante’s theatre. Not least, Ruzante satirizes the country figure he impersonates.

Ruzante was also renowned for his singing voice. In addition to the songs in the plays, nine extant canzoni are attributed to him. Settings by Willaert of ...


Mary Cyr

[not Jean-Baptiste]

(b Lunel, 1710; d Paris, Dec 1, 1772). French haute-contre singer, music teacher, cellist and composer. His début in 1733 at the Paris Opéra, according to La Borde, was in the monologue of Pélée, ‘Ciel! en voyant ce temple redoutable’ from Act 3 of Collasse's Thétis et Pélée (1689). He soon joined the Italian troupe, performing in divertissements between the acts of operas. After three years he returned to the Opéra and took several minor roles between 1737 and 1745 in Rameau's works: Un Athlète in Castor et Pollux (1737), Un Songe in Dardanus (1739), Lycurgue in Fêtes d'Hébé (1739), and Tacmas (replacing the well-known haute-contre Tribou) in the third entrée of Les Indes galantes (1743 revival). In 1743 he sang the title role in the première of Boismortier's ballet-comique, Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, with the famous soprano Marie Fel as Altisidore. Two years later he retired from the opera to devote himself to teaching and playing the cello. He became first cellist of the orchestra at the Comédie-Italienne in ...


Alexander Lingas

[Bereketēs, Petros; Byzantios, ho Melōdos, Glykys, Tzelepēs, Kouspazoglou]

(b Constantinople, ?1665; d ?1725). Romaic (Greek) composer and cantor. Though undoubtedly influenced by the works of Panagiotes, Germanos and Balasios, he appears never to have been directly associated with the patriarchal court that nurtured his older colleagues. His own substantial contributions to their continuing renewal of Byzantine chanting were made instead from the Constantinopolitan parish church of St Constantine (in the district of Hypsomatheia), where Bereketes held successively the offices of reader, domestikos, and prōtopsaltēs.

Among the traditional repertories, Bereketes virtually ignored the stichērarion and heirmologion recently ‘beautified’ by Panagiotes, Germanos, and Balasios in order to focus his compositional skills on the more structurally malleable chants of the Papadikē. He also brought the newer paraliturgical genre of the kalophonic heirmos to its highest point with the composition of 45 heirmoi for use in monastic refectories or during the distribution of antidoron (blessed bread) at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Cultivating what Chatzigiakoumis and Stathis have described as a comparatively popular style of liturgical music, he occasionally composed works incorporating elements of the Arabo-Persian tradition of Ottoman secular music. Among his chants for Orthros are settings of the first and second ...


(b Hlukhiv, 16/Oct 27, 1745; d St Petersburg, 24 March/April 4, 1777). Ukrainian composer and singer. The scantly documented facts of his life have to be gleaned from early biographies and contemporary accounts of performances in St Petersburg and Italy. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, a source of many singers for the St Petersburg court, or at the Kiev Academy. He reportedly began composing three- and four-part motets when still a boy. On his arrival in St Petersburg, probably in the first half of 1757, he was employed by the court of Peter III as a principal singer at the Oranienbaum theatre, where he played the role of Poro in Francesco Araja's Alessandro nell'Indie in 1759 and that of Ircano in Vincenzo Manfredini's Semiramide riconosciuta in 1760. (Uncertainty as to whether these were soprano or tenor roles has led to some doubt about his age at the time and hence about the ascribed year of his birth.) After Catherine the Great assumed the throne in ...


A. Lindsey Kirwan

revised by Stephan Hörner

(b Dolsenhaim, nr Altenburg, Saxony, 1584; d Ulm, Jan 10, 1656). German composer, singer and teacher. His father having left him little in the way of worldly goods, he went as a young man to Schwandorf, Nördlingen, and then to Augsburg, where his first publication appeared in 1606. The title ‘Kaiserlicher Notar’, which he held from 1624, indicates a legal training. At the end of 1606 he was appointed a tenor in the Stuttgart court chapel and in 1608 acted also as composer to the duke, Johann Friedrich; however, his application for the post of Kapellmeister was unsuccessful. Despite a contemporary report that he was ‘a good musician and a fine composer’, he was dismissed in 1612 when the number of singers in the chapel was reduced. After this he appears to have employed his talents in various directions. Until 1624 he worked as Präzeptor and music director at Bopfingen, near Nördlingen; then for ten years he was Kapellmeister and probably also official scribe to Count Ludwig Eberhard of Öttingen before returning to Augsburg in ...


Douglas Kirk

[Stevan] [Bernardi, Stefanus; Bernardo, Estevan; Vernart, Esteban]

(b Soignies, 1569/70: d Douai, Sept 1600). French singer and composer. He received his early music education at the monastery of St Vincent at Soignies. He was engaged as a cantorcillo at Madrid in the Flemish choir of Felipe II of Spain; he may have been recruited by George de La Hèle who took up his appointment as Felipe's maestro de capilla in 1582. In Madrid Bernard was taught by Philippe Rogier from 1586, and, according to Pedro Vaz Rego's poem Armonico Lazo, was one of Rogier's best pupils. As a clerk of the Toledo diocese he was considered on 13 April 1587 for the living of the chapel of Lens Castle, which had fallen vacant on the death of La Hèle. In 1590 he returned with Rogier to the Netherlands to attend Douai University where he continued to study until his death. He obtained a living at Soignies in ...


Kerala J. Snyder

(b Kolberg, Pomerania [now Kołobrzeg, Poland], Jan 1, 1628; d Dresden, Nov 14, 1692). German music theorist, composer and singer. He is best known for his discussion of musical-rhetorical figures in Tractatus compositionis augmentatus.

The birthplace given above is documented in a funeral poem by Bernhard’s brother-in-law C.C. Dedekind and is confirmed by Walther; the birth date appears in Müller-Blattau (2/1963) without documentation. Mattheson states, no doubt erroneously, that Bernhard was born in Danzig in 1612. According to Dedekind, Bernhard studied in Danzig (probably with the elder Kaspar Förster and possibly Paul Siefert) and in Warsaw (very likely with Scacchi); Mattheson’s assertion that Bernhard studied in Danzig with Balthasar Erben must also be in error for Erben did not become Kapellmeister at the Marienkirche until 1658, well after Bernhard was established in Dresden. At some point Bernhard also studied law. He began singing as an alto at the electoral court in Dresden under Schütz probably in ...


Walter Blankenburg


(b Celle, 1535; d Lüneburg, April 17, 1575). German Kantor, composer and theologian. He studied first at the Johannisschule in Lüneburg where Lucas Lossius was one of his teachers, and from 1555 in Wittenberg. He was appointed town Kantor in Lüneburg in 1558. In 1562 he accepted a post as a preacher at the Nikolaikirche, Lüneburg, and performed the duties concurrently with those of Kantor until 1564; in that year Christoph Praetorius, an uncle of Michael Praetorius, took over Bertram’s town post. From 1571 or 1572 until his death he was principal pastor in Lüneburg.

Bertram’s life story is characteristic of many early Lutheran figures whose first occupation as a Kantor was merely a stepping-stone to the profession of pastor. His are the earliest compositions by a Lüneburg Kantor to have survived. The most important is his contribution to the Erotemata musicae practicae (Nuremberg, 1563), a book of instruction designed by Lossius for music teaching in Lüneburg. In the preface it is stated that Bertram had ‘carefully compiled and extended the book with pleasing and suitable music examples’; it is possible that he was also responsible for the remaining music examples that cannot be identified. To the ...


Sven Hansell

(b Milan, 1758; d after 1816). Italian singer and composer. He began a career as a baritone in Milan and Genoa and may have sung in Paris in the 1780s. Touring Germany in the early 1790s, he became court singer to the Prince of Nassau Weilburg and sang at the Berlin Königliches Nationaltheater from 1792. His performances in German (including roles in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and J.M. König’s Lilla, oder Die Gärtnerin) were criticized, but those in Italian comic operas by Paisiello, Sarti, Cimarosa and Astarita were highly praised. On 16 February 1794 his own serious opera Die Insel der Alcina (2, G. Bertati; manuscript in D-SWl ) was staged at the Berlin Hoftheater, and in 1796 his pastoral intermezzo Fileno e Clorinda was given in Charlottenburg and Potsdam. Bianchi remained a member of the opera buffa company at the Prussian court until late 1797, when Friedrich Wilhelm II died. He then visited various German cities and became co-director with Krüger of an opera troupe touring Thuringia. His ballets ...


Hellmut Federhofer

(b Venice, c1540; d Graz, bur. Feb 2, 1611). Italian composer and singer. He was probably educated in Venice, and he became a canon at S Salvatore there. On 1 November 1578 he was appointed a tenor in the Graz Hofkapelle, to which he belonged for the rest of his life. In 1580 he became court chaplain and in 1595 Hofkapellmeister; by then he was also principal court chaplain and almoner. His appointment to both posts resulted from the Graz court’s efforts in support of the Counter-Reformation. Bianco resolutely continued the italianization of the Hofkapelle, a task already begun by Annibale Padovano; in order to recruit musicians and obtain music, he visited Venice several times, and Venetian music became the most important influence on music at the Graz court. Bianco attracted musicians such as Georg Poss, who was trained in Venice, and Giovanni Gabrieli’s friend Francesco Stivori and pupil Alessandro Tadei. His testimonials on the Graz court musicians (in ...


[da Asti]

(b Asti, c. 1480; d before 1525). Soprano singer and composer, active in Italy. He was one of the most famous singers of his time; Castiglione described his manner of singing as one that was ‘so skilled, quick, vehement, impassioned, and has such various melodies that the spirits of his listeners are stirred and are so entranced that they seem to be uplifted to heaven’. Similar encomia can be found in other writings. A member of the Savoy chapel from 1500 to 1502, he was recruited to join the Ferrarese chapel in 1502 and stayed in Ferrara until he was lured to Rome by Leo X in 1516. He was first employed by the pope in some sort of private capacity, but had become a member of the papal chapel by 1519. He was not altogether happy in Rome, however, and made an attempt in 1517 to return to Ferrarese service which was rebuffed. He must have died before ...


Lorenzo Bianconi

revised by Jennifer Williams Brown

(fl 1682–1714). Italian composer, organist and singer. A member of the clergy, he worked at S Marco, Venice, from 12 January 1687 until his death in 1714, as an ‘organetto’ player and bass singer (promoted to basso del maestro in 1690). From 1688 to 1698 he was maestro di coro of the Venetian Ospedale dei Darelitti. At least two operas by him were staged in Venice; he may be the Don Paolo who sang at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo there in 1682 and 1684.

CaffiS C. Bonlini: Le glorie della poesia e della musica...


Ryan Dohoney

(b San Francisco, CA, Sept 30, 1968). American composer, vocalist, and improviser; daughter of composer Herbert Bielawa and organist/scholar Sandra Soderlund. As a child she composed, sang, and played violin. She was a member of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and wrote some of her earliest compositions for the group. Bielawa studied literature at Yale, graduating in 1990, and soon moved to New York City. In 1992 she began singing and touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble and later sang with John Zorn. In 1997 she co-founded the MATA Festival, a concert series that presents the music of younger composers.

Bielawa’s compositional output is extensive and includes orchestra works, music for voice and ensemble, and music for dance. Her musical language is rhapsodic, harmonically adventurous, and grounded in a propulsive energy. Her orchestrations are characterized by a warmly expressive range of timbres. Bielawa’s musical oeuvre has been shaped by her close relationships with particular performers and their unique abilities. Her ...


Argia Bertini


(b Venice, 1666/7; d Venice, early 1733). Italian composer and singer. His approximate date of death derives from a manuscript note ( I-Vnm ), which also states that he was 66 when he died. He is widely supposed to have been a pupil of Legrenzi, but there is no firm evidence. On 6 July 1692 he joined the choir of S Marco, Venice, as a contralto. After barely a week the procurators entrusted him with the task of helping the maestro di cappella, G.D. Partenio. On Partenio's death in 1701, he applied for the vacant post together with the vicemaestro, C.F. Pollarolo, and the two organists, Antonio Lotti and Benedetto Vinaccesi; he was appointed on 5 February 1702 and held the post until his death, though he may well have been assisted, or replaced, by Antonio Lotti during his last year because of infirmity. He also succeeded Partenio as director and ...


Giles Easterbrook

(Caroline )

(b Nottingham, June 21, 1952). English composer and mezzo-soprano. She attended the RAM from 1970 to 1973, where she studied composition with Alan Bush and Fenby, and singing with Eric Vietheer. She continued her composition studies with Hans Keller (1975–8) and in 1971 won the Principal's Prize for Composition. She was elected an ARAM in 1997.

From the mid-1970s Bingham followed careers both as a singer and as a composer, winning the BBC Young Composer Award in 1977. She sang with the BBC Singers on a full-time basis (1983–96), before resigning in order to concentrate on composition. Several early scores have been lost; those that survive show a quixotic imagination, a fondness for pungent harmonies, prickly rhythms and pithy statement, and an ear for unusual instrumental combinations. Later, after exposure to large-scale polyphonic scores during her time with the BBC Singers, she moved away from overt experiment to a more homogenous, direct style, developing an individual approach to structure based on organically related, through-composed mosaics extended over long time-scales. This is seen in two pivotal works, ...